Human Trafficking Awareness: A Year Long Fight

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to be a part of fighting human trafficking. Although popular belief is that human trafficking occurs in seedy hotels in crime-ridden neighborhoods of border towns, the reality is that human trafficking can and does occur in many kinds of businesses at every price point. Efforts to spread awareness and much of the media coverage about this horrific crime tend to focus on sex trafficking, which is undeniably important. However, an equally problematic aspect of trafficking is labor trafficking. Essentially modern-day slavery, labor trafficking typically involves crews of workers like those frequently found in maintenance, agriculture, landscaping, construction and cleaning. A better understanding of the ways humans are trafficked and the ability to recognize the signs will help businesses and individuals alike work to fight this atrocity and make a difference, and FRLA hopes to raise awareness for this crime.

How Can We Help?

Florida is the third-highest state for human trafficking in the nation, and it is imperative that we all work together to ensure that our state is a safe and welcoming place for all who visit. That’s why FRLA worked with subject matter experts to develop an online training course designed specifically for hotels and restaurants to educate hospitality workers about the signs of human trafficking and help them know the steps to take should they suspect trafficking is occurring. Because we are so committed to helping spread awareness, we are offering the course completely free to anyone. The response to our course has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am proud of members who have taken the lead in the area by taking this course. Additionally, I commend those who are taking and implementing other human trafficking awareness training. Their dedication to understanding human trafficking will undoubtedly make a difference in the community and help keep residents and visitors alike safe.

While January is a month dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking, we must continue to discuss this issue year-round. Awareness and education are critical components of fighting human trafficking, and FRLA is committed to continuing the conversation in a variety of ways. We work with organizations across the state to hold and participate in panel discussions and to advocate for training. I am proud of Florida’s hospitality industry for recognizing the threat that human trafficking poses and for taking a stand to say the Sunshine State is no place for traffickers.

Join FRLA and the rest of Florida’s hospitality industry as we work to raise awareness and fight human trafficking in our state.

To learn more about this free human trafficking training, visit

This opinion was written by Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.